By María Cabrera

Vaca Muerta is a geological formation in Neuquén, northern Patagonia (Argentina), where the largest unconventional hydrocarbon hydraulic fracturing extraction in Latin America is taking place. The Neuquén Multisectorial group against fracking, regional groups, and the Mapuche native community formed a caravan which travelled through the desert to reach the operations run by the American oil giant Chevron and the Argentinean national company Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales (YPF).

As a member of this caravan, during our tour I was able to witness the obvious effects on the environmentof the fracking well-stimulation technique: large areas contaminated by oil spills, a vastextent of landremoved, intense truck manoeuvringand huge noise pollution.

Over 100 people, including members of social, political and labour organizations, student and feminist groups, human rights associations, the alternative media and Mapuche communities raised their voices once more to say: NO TO FRACKING!

Our caravan arrived in the Vaca Muerta area at around noon, and we met the Campo Maripe community there. These people were in their second day of action, because on Thursday 9thOctober they decided to occupyone well in order to compelNeuquinoStatelisten to their demands and recognise them as aMapuche indigenous community.

Then a presentation was made during which everyone expressed their reasons for joining the battle against fracking and gave support and reinforcement to the community. It was a very emotional and empowering moment that will help to maintain the fight in the future. Finally, a tour was taken to visit some of the wells run by Chevron in association with YPF.

This made it clear to each of us there that the development of unconventional hydrocarbons in Vaca Muerta is becoming increasingly dangerous. But it also made it clear that every day more and more people are raising their voices to say no to fracking. We need to demand an urgent transition to green solutions if we want to stop climate change. We cannot continue to invest in fossil fuel energy and rely on highly aggressive drilling techniques such as fracking, which involve enormous risk and are the largest contributors to climate change.


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